CLEVELAND — As the Brooklyn Nets put together for all times with out Kevin Durant for no less than the subsequent month, coach Steve Nash needs them to take action with as constructive an outlook as doable.
Durant sprained the MCL in his left knee throughout Saturday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans. While Nash mentioned Monday that the Nets do not have an actual timeline for when Durant will return, sources instructed ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday that the franchise expects a four- to six-week rehabilitation.
No matter how lengthy Durant is out, Nash is hopeful his crew can keep afloat till the star ahead returns. The Nets’ large three of Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have performed simply two video games collectively this season due to a mix of accidents, COVID-19 protocols, and the truth that Irving will not be vaccinated and subsequently not allowed to play in dwelling video games due to the New York City vaccination mandate.
“If they get a bunch of games together, great,” Nash mentioned earlier than Monday’s sport towards the Cleveland Cavaliers. “If they don’t, they don’t. And we’ll be playing the cards we’re dealt so it’s a little bit out of our hands. We just have to do the best we can. We can’t cry about it. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We got to keep building, see what we can learn, how we can grow during this period of Kevin being out and Joe [Harris] being out and how we can continue to move this thing forward so when they do come back, we’re in a better place — and he can rejoin us in a place where we can feel better about where we are in that part of the season.”
Nash mentioned he is assured his group will take the chance to play exhausting and study with out with the ability to rely on the previous MVP.
“Obviously we lose a scorer of the highest caliber,” Nash mentioned. “But we also lose size and defense. … He’s such a well-rounded player, does so many things at a high level, plus he gives us small-team size on the perimeter — there’s so many ways that his absence will be felt. Having said that, it’s a great opportunity for guys, and it’s an opportunity for our team to grow. We can’t rely on him in ways that we could, and we have to find ways and solutions to be competitive without him.”
Nash mentioned he is exchanged messages with Durant and that the 33-year-old is “disappointed.” Nash takes some solace in the truth that Durant handled an identical injury in February 2017 when then-Golden State Warriors teammate Zaza Pachulia inadvertently fell into his left knee and he was pressured to overlook over a month. Nash believes Durant has proven the flexibility to return again stronger after any injury setback that he is skilled all through the years.
“He’s obviously disappointed,” Nash mentioned. “The guy loves to play. It’s tough any time you’re injured, but this is just the reality, and try to stay positive and look forward to the opportunity to play and that it’s not worse.”
Nash mentioned Durant can be reevaluated in “a few weeks.” For the time being, the Nets are going to need to rely much more on Irving, who has performed in simply three video games since returning to the crew on Jan. 5. The Nets reversed course on having a part-time participant following a COVID-19 outbreak final month.
“It’s helpful for sure that we have a lot of road games,” Nash mentioned. “Helpful the All-Star break’s in this stretch, too. I think it’s nice to have a positive spin on things.”
Despite Durant’s absence, Nash would not need to put an excessive amount of strain on Irving provided that he has performed in solely a handful of video games. The Nets play 11 of their subsequent 14 video games on the street.
“I want Kyrie to have the space to regain his rhythm and not overburden him with, ‘Now that Kevin’s out, you have to take over and lead the league in scoring.’ I want him to find his legs without feeling an extra burden,” Nash mentioned.
“He hasn’t played for six-plus months, and coming back into the NBA game with little cadence and difficult practice opportunities, I think we have to give him that space to also find his rhythm without feeling overburdened or feeling too much pressure to do things too quickly. He already has shown his game’s right there. And in no time, I think we’ll see the Kyrie we all expect, but I don’t want him to feel like he has to be that all at once.”
Nash did not have a solution when requested whether or not Durant’s injury may make Irving rethink getting the vaccine.
“I don’t know,” Nash mentioned. “I don’t know what he thinks about the shot really.”